STATEMENT: As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Heads to Pennsylvania to Outline the Trump Administration’s Farm Bill, Independent Farmers Demand He Reverse Attacks on Family Farmers
As Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue delivers remarks in Mifflintown, Harrisburg and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, farmers suing the Administration for rolling back critical protections for family farms issued the following statement:
“President Trump and Secretary Perdue have turned their backs on farmers and rural communities. Instead of upholding their promise to be our champion, the Trump administration sided with multinational corporations to roll back rules designed to prevent corporations from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices against family farms,” said Joe Maxwell, Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM).
“Farmers don’t need more empty promises from Secretary Perdue in his speech today about the Farm Bill—we need action. The Secretary and President Trump have the opportunity to reverse course and pledge to reinstate the Farmer Fair Practices Rule. Over 80 farm organizations have called on the administration to do so. Until then, we will continue to fight the Administration’s harmful and unlawful attack on family farms in court.”
Background: Last fall, President Trump’s USDA rescinded the “Farmer Fair Practices Rule”— rules that made it possible for independent poultry and livestock farmers to take legal action against multinational agricultural corporations when those corporations engaged in abusive and unfair practices. When independent producers contract with these corporations, they face huge risks of abuse, through practices like predatory pricing and collusion, bad faith, and retaliation. The fair practices rule that was withdrawn by USDA was the product of almost 10 years of work, and would have helped farmers make sure they could hold corporations accountable and keep them honest. In November, more than 80 farm organizations wrote to President Trump urging him to reverse USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s action.
In December, the Organization for Competitive Markets, along with farmers in Nebraska and Alabama, sued the Trump Administration seeking to reinstate the rules and protect independent farmers.